Spear steps back up in trip in Eclipse

Qatar Racing’s Lightning Spear is declared to run over a mile and a quarter for just the second time in the Gr. 1 Coral-Eclipse at Sandown on Saturday.

It look a very competitive renewal of the Eclipse and the 3-year-olds dominate the market with Derby runner-up Cliffs of Moher leading the way from St James’s Palace Stakes winner Barney Roy and Eminent.

However, Lightning Spear brings top-class form to the table himself having finished second behind the best miler in Europe, Ribchester, in the Gr. 1 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on his return. Lightning Spear wasn’t at his best behind the same rival in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot since, but he was drawn away from his key rivals that day and the ground was very quick, the race run in course record time after all.

After four winners last Saturday, Qatar Racing run five horses in total in Britain this Saturday, including Gr. 2 Ribblesdale Stakes fourth Rich Legacy in the Gr. 2 Lancashire Oaks at Haydock. She showed she stays a mile and a half well at Royal Ascot and is already a winner at this level, having landed the Gr. 2 May Hill Stakes at Doncaster last September.

Completing the Qatar Racing quintet in Britain are progressive 3-year-old Naval Warfare, who takes on his elders in the valuable Coral Challenge Handicap at Sandown, and the returning Soul Silver and Goldmember, who also run at the Esher track.

There are also two Qatar Racing runners in Australia, namely 2-year-old Just Gorgeous and older handicapper Hursley.

Talking of juveniles, there have been another three winners for Qatar Racing in the 2-year-old ranks in the past week. First was the William Haggas-trained Scat Daddy filly Special Purpose who looked exciting when making a winning debut at Lingfield last Saturday. Her debut victory was matched by the Andrew Balding-trained Harbour Watch colt Fortune’s Pearl who got up on the line at Chepstow on Tuesday. Completing the trio was the Johnny Murtagh-trained Golden Spell who gave Al Kazeem his first winner with his first runner as a stallion when getting off the mark at the second time of asking at Bellewstown on Friday evening.